BY REV. DR. KURT TRUCKSESS - CROSSWINDS CHURCH
America is one of the wealthiest nations. As Christians, how should we handle our wealth?
Should we give all of it away to the cause of the gospel? Should we feel guilty spending some of it on things we enjoy? In the closing verses of 1 Timothy, the apostle Paul writes to the Christians in the ancient city of Ephesus giving them wisdom on how to handle wealth. Paul gives many lessons on wealth in these verses. I want to focus on just one.
"As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy" — 1 Timothy 6:17.
One of Paul’s points is the legitimacy of enjoying the wealth God provides. If God places you in a financial position to have a cabin at the Lakes and a boat, there is nothing wrong with enjoying them. You don’t need to feel guilty about having and enjoying God’s good gifts.
The key is understanding how to enjoy God’s gifts. Earlier in the book of 1 Timothy, in chapter 4, Paul dealt with a group of people who were ascetics. They thought the most spiritual people denied themselves pleasure. In 1 Timothy 4, they denied themselves the joys of marriage and meat. Paul countered that false teaching by telling the Ephesian Christians that God was more glorified by meat-eating married people than celibate vegans. The vegans who sat home eating celery playing a game of solitaire because they were committed to singleness gave God less worship than married Christians eating steak.
The steak-eating Christians praised God for his good gifts every time they sank their teeth into a T-bone. The married Christians gave God more praise every time they looked into the eyes of their spouse and experienced the joys of marital intimacy. God received less worship from the celibate vegans because they experienced less joy from God’s good gifts, which resulted in less thankfulness to God.
In the same way, if God has given us wealth, it is good to enjoy some of the pleasures it provides. Let those pleasures turn our hearts to greater worship of God for the kindness and goodness of his gifts.
The problem comes when we start worshipping the gift instead of the giver. It is easy to turn God’s good gifts into an idol instead of letting them inspire more worship to God for his goodness.
If God provides wealth, enjoy it, don’t worship it. Let it motivate your heart to constant thankfulness to God for his many good gifts.
God’s best gift is nothing we can buy with money. It is complete forgiveness of our sins through our faith in Jesus Christ, God’s only son. Paul said in his letter to the Ephesians that those who know Christ are literally the most blessed beings in the entire universe through the best gift God has ever given, his own son. Jesus died for our sins and adopted us as his brothers and sisters through our faith in him making us the most blessed beings that will ever exist.
This week, enjoy God’s good gifts and let them motivate your heart to greater levels of worship because of the undeserved kindness of our God.